The tremendous growth in developing countries has cut poverty and relative inequality between states. This is because, in many areas, poor countries are making faster progress than rich ones in many areas. In some cases, such as malnutrition, this is because rich countries have very few further gains to make. In others, the rapid adoption of technologies and market-friendly reforms have delivered progress at breakneck speed.
Those at the helm of companies with dark chapters in their history might instinctively want to cover up their predecessors' transgressions. What they should realise is that, almost invariably, the truth will out one way or another. An honest reckoning with the past, even when it involves mistakes as serious Nazi collaboration, is the only defence against someone else telling a firm's story for them.
Short-term thinking is a blight on aid spending. For every $1 spent preparing for humanitarian disasters, we save $7 in dealing with the consequences. And yet just 1 per cent of humanitarian aid goes on disaster risk management. The East African famine, which has put 16 million people on the brink of starvation, is the latest example of a crisis that could easily have been avoided, or at the very least ameliorated.
Not so long ago, things were looking up for Mozambique. It had successfully swapped civil war for democratic elections and discovered vast reserves of offshore natural gas. But what could have been Africa's boom nation instead became a cautionary tale of the damage that corruption and lax debt relief can collectively wreak. Will the IMF make the same mistake again?
A new University of Cardiff report calls for more government action to stop people using disposable coffee cups. Yet, given that a 25p charge for the cups deterred only a tiny fraction of consumers, we clearly value their convenience. In any case, we are already taxed for the environmental harm they do with a landfill charge. When the benefits outweigh the harm, as is the case here, it is economically illiterate to get in people's way.
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